February 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Victorian bushfires, one of the most significant natural disasters the state has experienced.
The anniversary is a time for Victorians to reflect and remember the 173 people who died in the bushfires, and to learn about how communities have been rebuilt.
As part of this state-wide commemoration, Victoria Police is hosting a ceremony at Marysville Police Station where the Australian flag that was flying during the bushfires will be returned to its original home.
Today’s event at Marysville Police Station includes a formal ceremony with a full police escort, police horses and shrine guards. A lone piper will play “Amazing Grace” and a formal march off will officially retire the former Marysville flag.
The flag was one of three items preserved after the police station burnt down, and has been carefully conserved for the last ten years at the Victoria Police Museum in Melbourne.
The flag was found burned outside the Marysville Police Station after the fires, by the then Officer in Charge Sergeant Kevin Graham and was handed to the museum to be preserved using specialised techniques for fragile artefacts.
Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton will join current and former Marysville police officers, emergency service workers, defence and the local community at the ceremony this morning.
“As part of our rebuilding process, Marysville police officers have requested the flag be returned to its original home,” Chief Commissioner Ashton said
“Today’s event is a time for everyone present to reflect on how the fires changed the lives of so many and how our communities have rebuilt.”
The Victoria Police Museum team used special techniques on the flag to remove ash and foreign particles. It has been carefully stored at the Victoria Police Museum in Melbourne for the last decade.
“It’s amazing that our flag survived in such extreme circumstances. This flag has come to represent not only the impact of the fires on Marysville, but the resilience and strength of the police and broader community as we rebuild,” said Senior Sergeant Mark Hesse.
The flag has recently been installed in a custom-made case and will be on display to the public in the Marysville Police Station foyer.